In the season’s second offering of Scandal, we find out about Olivia (Kerry Washington) and her dad’s past, Jeanine the White House aide (Samantha Sloyan) continues to get screwed, and a mysterious man shows up outside of Liv’s door!
Let’s bitch it out…
Scandal continues to show complete mastery in its use of flashbacks to flesh out the story between Olivia and her father, Rowan (Joe Morton). Once upon a time Liv thought her dad worked at the Smithsonian (Side note: I love the on-the-nose metaphor about the mammoth getting all the glory, but the mastodon being a far more dangerous beast). The father/daughter pair have a strained relationship since he abandoned the family after her mom died, but Liv has reluctantly agreed to Sunday night dinners with him in exchange for him paying off her law school debt.
Until everything changes the night that Huck (Guillermo Diaz), living at Union Station at the time, saves Olivia from a mugging. When she asks him about his kick-ass killing skills, Huck mentions B613 and Olivia asks her dad to check it out (and we just accept the very tenuous thread about him knowing someone at the FBI). After some Nancy Drew detective work, Olivia puts two and two together and realizes that her dad works for B613. Rant time: B613’s fake name is “Acme Limited.” Acme, really? Is this a Wiley Coyote sketch? And Rowan keeps pens around the house with this ridiculous name on it? Worst. Spies. Ever.
Present day Olivia would never be that dumb. Of course, present day Liv is too busy for those kinds of shenanigans because she’s defending Jeanine Locke from the presidential sex scandal. Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) gets one brownie point early in the hour for telling Olivia to “bring it” – encouraging her quest to take on the White House with everything she’s got because Jeanine is an innocent kid who needs protection. Fitz later loses that point when he doesn’t seem too concerned that Jake (Scott Foley) is being tortured because Jake’s “not my favorite person these days.” Fitz then goes into the negatives when he ends up throwing Jeanine under the bus anyways.
Despite Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) attempts to ensure Jeanine take’s the fall as America’s mistress, courtesy of leaked schedules that somehow prove Fitz and Jeanine were working alone late at night on numerous occasions, Olivia is still confident about her defense strategy. Then Rowan drops a bombshell: if Olivia exposes Jeanine as the president’s mistress, Rowan will release Jake alive. We find out that since Jake disappeared, Olivia has been going to the morgue to check out every guy resembling Jake looking for him (awww! That’s adorable…in a morbid kinda way).
Despite the enjoyably brisk speed of the episode, the whole motivation behind B613 keeps it from soaring. This stuff is all a bit hazy and requires some fleshing out. Let’s get this straight: B613 is a black-ops domestic CIA organization that’s charged with ensuring the “stability of the republic,” which will be accomplished if Jeanine admits to the affair? This seems like a very nebulous charter. Plus they answer to no one, including the president, but Liv’s dad can apparently trade politically sensitive prisoners simply because his daughter throws a fit? It’s all very strange.
In the end, Olivia tells Jeanine to speak the truth, knowing that it would put Jake’s life in jeopardy but she trusts Fitz to get Jake out (he is the leader of the free world after all). Fitz accomplishes this by confirming Jeanine as his mistress, which is the exact thing Liv was trying to prevent. Ultimately they both cave to their respective blackmailers: Fitz admits that Jeanine is the homewrecker because he wants to prove to Liv that he’ll do anything for her. Olivia, meanwhile, puts Sunday dinners back on the table, thereby ensuring a safe return for Jake at episode’s end, which will ironically lead Fitz to think B613 actually will listen to Cyrus (and by proxy him). Regardless, both Fitz and Liv demonstrate that compromising the integrity of your convictions can ultimately win the day. Such is life…
We close with Pope and Associates assuring a very confused Jeanine they’ll get her a book deal, and a post-hole Jake, looking a lot worse for wear, at Olivia’s door courtesy of dear old dad. And all is right in the world…
- There are several clues for identifying flashback sequences on this show, but my favourite is to look for Olivia’s bangs
- Edison (Norm Lewis) is back! In flashbacks, we learn that Olivia agreed to marry him so that she could threaten her father in order to get Huck out of B613’s hole. Papa Pope’s response: he has Edison run off the road as a warning to her not to marry the dude (whoa!). Do you think Olivia would have go through with the marriage to Edison just to force her dad’s hand or would she have always backed out?
- Also in flashback, David Rosen’s (Joshua Malina) goatee! No, just no.
- Thanks to Quinn (Katie Lowes), newfound super hacker, Huck figures out that Olivia’s dad is Command at B613, and the reason Huck’s free is that she made a deal with Rowan. This results in a pretty powerful scene as Huck almost chokes Olivia in the car park. It’ll be interesting to see how these two react to one another moving forward
- Am I the only one who wants to see a spin-off featuring Tom the bodyguard’s home life when he’s not helping Fitz have an extramarital affair? It’s been three years now…Tom, what are your hopes and dreams?
- I lived in D.C. for several years, and it kills me how the metro scenes are so obviously not shot in D.C. It is way too hard to suspend disbelief when they look nothing like actual metro stations.
- Joe Morton completely owns this episode. In just the last few episodes, he’s established himself as this season’s diabolical villain. I also love that he uses the same over-enunciating, staccato-delivery verbal cadence as Olivia. They’re quite the pair
- Cyrus (answering the phone when Rowan calls): “Doom, gloom, fate of the Republic, I get it”
- Fitz (forcing Cyrus to do his bidding after being mocked earlier): “How presidential are my balls now, Cy?”
What did you think of the second episode? Are you glad Jake is back? Will Huck be able to forgive Olivia for not telling him who her dad was? Is it humanly possible to be a worse father than Rowan? Sound off below!
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC